Capital | Lomé
Population | 6,771,993 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 56,785 SQ KM
Official Language | French
Holidays | Independence Day, 27 April (1960)
Currency | Franc (XOF)
Time Zone | UTC 0
Best Time to Visit | Mid-July to mid-September.
Connecting with the Culture | Hiking the beautiful hill country surrounding Kpalimé, well known for its butterflies. Gazing at the extraordinary tata compounds, built without tools, in the Tamberma Valley. Browsing through the bewildering collection of traditional medicines and fetishes on offer at the Marché des Fétishes in Lomé. Discovering the crumbling colonial charm of Aného, the former capital, set on a picturesque lagoon. Enjoying Lake Togo’s water sports, including windsurfing and water-skiing. Having fun bargaining with mama Benz, the smart wealthy women traders of Lomé’s Grand Marché.
Read | the autobiography An African in Greenland by Tété- Michel Kpomassie, who was raised in a traditional Togolese family.
Listen | to Bella Bellow for a musical hybrid of traditional music fused with the contemporary sounds of West Africa, the Caribbean and South America.
Watch | Togolese director Anne-Laure Folly’s Femmes aux yeux ouverts (Women with Open Eyes), which explores the problems facing women in West Africa.
Eat | koklo meme (grilled chicken with chilli sauce) or abobo (snails cooked like a brochette).
Drink | tchakpallo (fermented millet with a frothy head) or palm wine.
In a Word | Un-lah-wah-lay (‘Good morning’ in Kabyé, one of the major indigenous languages)
Characteristics | Beaches; fetishes; clay houses of Tamberna; voodoo; great food.
Surprises | The Ewe consider the birth of twins a great blessing, but the Bassari consider it a grave misfortune; of the Togolese population, 59% are animists.